A few years ago I wrote about the most perfect summer day: I woke up and water skied with my dad and grandfather in the morning, and then ended up in New York City in the afternoon to see Les Misérables on Broadway with my grandfather and grandma. Les Misérables is easily one of my favorite Broadway shows. It’s simply a beautiful production with a touching message of love, perseverance and hope. I also love shows that make me cry — and the ending always gets me. It’s just so sad and so happy at the same time!
I don’t watch much television, but after what seemed like an endless week I felt like I was due for some “me time” in the form of sitting down, relaxing, and enjoying a musical. The musical of choice was Les Misérables and I have to say the message behind the movie was more apparent than ever this time around. I often found myself hearing a line and wandering off into my mind about how much that line can relate to current times.
For background, Les Misérables is set before and during the French Revolution, specifically the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris. The overarching theme is hope and endurance, and that is what I want to focus on. You have many characters whose “fight” is centered around pushing through life’s obstacles with the hope that what they are fighting for is worth it. First, you have Jean Valjean who spent 19 years slaving away in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. Once he left prison, he broke parole and was given a new chance at life, which he used wisely and became a beloved mayor and successful factory owner. He spends his whole life worried that he will be caught, but he continues to believe who he is now and the fact that he must protect his adopted daughter are worth persevering through his deep guilt. Next you have the college-aged men who spearhead the revolution and literally fight to the end, even though they know they lost. They quite literally stared death in the face and accepted that their fight was worth dying for.
So, why do I say all this? Well, watching Les Mis during a pandemic as I await my fifth move in the last year and a half made me realize how relevant the story is today. Regardless of what you’re going through — an unexpected move, a job loss, mental health issues, anything — the hope that radiates from Les Mis is a reminder that you can persevere through anything that life throws your way. And hopefully the fact that the students in Les Mis die for what they believe in can give you that extra boost of determination to chase after your dreams relentlessly. The uphill portion of anything is never easy, but the musical reinforced for me that if men can fight until death for what they believe in, I can accept something that I don’t particularly like and make it out on the other side.
Furthermore, one of my favorite songs from Les Mis is “Do You Hear the People Sing?” It’s such a powerful, hopeful song that it’s impossible to not get choked up from the sheer energy of it. The chorus sings, “When the beating of your heart, echoes the beating of the drums … there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes.” Just those lines alone have me in awe. If you’re that passionate about something, keep fighting, because tomorrow, it can be yours. For people who have seen Annie, I compare this song to “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.”
Watching Les Misérables gave me a bit of a reality check and reminded me to keep on believing even when times get tough. I hope that reading this blog post can help you do the same.
Whitmanythought 1: If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching Les Misérables!